Justice Samuel Alito raised eyebrows on social media over a joke he made during oral arguments for an LGBTQ+ discrimination case on Monday. According to PEOPLE, the Supreme Court case – 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis – is about a Colorado graphic designer’s argument that rendering her services to same-sex couples violates her faith.
Justice Alito is said to have made the joke when he and his colleagues were floating around hypothetical situations to paint a picture of how their decision on the case could have an effect on other likely instances of discrimination.
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is a left-leaning member of the court, posed a question on if there wouldn’t be any issues if a White mall Santa Claus supposedly decides not to take photos with Black children. Alito, a right-leaning justice, then came in and suggested there are certain moments where denying services is proper – like if a Black Santa declines to pose for pictures with a child wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe.
Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson, however, told Alito that “Ku Klux Klan outfits are not protected characteristics under public accommodation laws.” Justice Elena Kagan also added that if a Black Santa refuses to entertain someone wearing a KKK outfit, that person’s identity would be unimportant because of the outfit in question.
Justice Alito, who wrote the majority opinion on the Supreme Court’s reversal of the Roe v. Wade case, then said, “You do see a lot of Black children in Ku Klux Klan outfits, right? All the time. All the time.” His response was met with a bit of laughter in the courtroom, PEOPLE reported.
But some people took to Twitter to register their displeasure over Justice Alito’s joke. “This argument … this is really upsetting. The joke about Black kids in KuKluxKlan outfits? No Justice Alito, these ‘jokes’ are so inappropriate, no matter how many in the courtroom chuckle mindlessly,” Sherrilyn Ifill, who is the former president and director-counsel of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, tweeted.
“According to SCOTUS Justice Alito, prohibiting a Christian from discriminating against LGBTQ people is like forcing ‘black Santa’ to appear in a photo with the KKK. This is what passes for logic in a right-wing Supreme Court. Shameful!” Rep. Ritchie Torres also shared.
Take a look at more reactions below: